Raise your hand if you enjoy entertaining guests for dinner?🙋🏼 Me too! If my husband does the cooking that is lol! I actually do love to cook, but only for two. When it comes to doubling a recipe, for some reason my palms get all clammy and I end up standing frozen over my cook book afraid I'm going to over salt everything! My husband, on the other hand, grew up with a mom that could turn a bunch of cucumbers, and whatever else she had in her pantry, into a delicious creamy soup that's still talked about decades later (no lie). So he has no problem throwing together something that's completely delicious for company.
But today, I'm not sharing one of his tasty recipes. I'm sharing how to make the most of your small dining room so that you and your guests can linger comfortably over whatever scrumptious meal you whip up or order in. So read on for a few helpful tips.
Buy furniture that fits. I know what you're thinking, DUH! How is this helpful? Well, I can tell you (from experience) that not taking the proper measurements before you shop for furniture can ruin all of your plans for the perfect dinner party. When we moved into our house I could see that we had a small dining area, but it looked as if I could still fit a standard sized rectangular table in it. I absolutely fell in love with one table that I was so sure would fit, but after taking measurements I realized that no standard sized table would fit unless my guests and I were going to stand up to eat! After a little panic attack I began shopping on Etsy, and found some amazing furniture makers that will custom build anything you want. The shop I chose was out of Chicago. The builder used reclaimed wood, built to my specifications, and delivered it to me personally. You may be thinking I must have paid a fortune. Nope. The total cost of the table, benches, and delivery was less than the cost of the table I had originally fallen in love with! (Here's a pic)
Sadly, I can no longer find the builder on Etsy, but there are many more like him.
This brings me to my second suggestion. Use bench seating. As you can see, my dining room is long and narrow. Benches take up less space since they can easily slide under the table, and you can squeeze in more people. (Hopefully they all really like each other😄). I love the look of bench seating, and they come in all kinds of styles. This sleek danish dining bench from Overstock is beautiful, and you can't beat the $89 price tag.
I've also noticed that many of my clients have dual purpose dining rooms. They may serve as an office during the day and a place for family dinners at night, in which case buying multi-purpose furniture may be your best option. This table from Ashley Furniture has shelves underneath that could potentially hide a laptop, and other office supplies when the work day is done.
Instead of taking up space with a buffet or console, opt to store dishes, glasses, or alcohol on shelves or racks. We love being able to have a large wine collection even though our small home doesn't offer a cellar. Some have asked about storing our wine in an area that gets a lot of natural light, but if you drink it fast enough you don't have to worry about that😂. These are the racks we use. They can be configured for any space.
Finally, if you're really handy you can build your own banquett around a small table. Not only will you be able to customize it to your exact taste, but you can add a tremendous amount of storage underneath. In a small home where storage may be limited, anything extra is extremely valuable! My in laws live in a tiny house that they built themselves. They've maximized every inch of space as you can see from their dining nook. (Click the photo to see more of their incredible home.)
What's your best tip for making the most of a small dining room? Comment below!